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Jan 23rd 2024

Ask Raymond Francis

“Hello all...I will be answering your questions regarding health and supplements. Please feel free to send any questions you may have to Over the upcoming months, I will try to answer as many of these as possible.” 

Question: I am taking St. John’s Wort for depression. Are there any downsides to doing this?

M.P. — Delray Beach, FL

Answer: St. John’s Wort has been well studied and it is effective in treating depression. Regarding downsides, the one you should be most concerned with, especially living in Florida, is it makes your skin more sensitive to the sun. So be careful of getting more than a little sun. It is also not good to take this herb with prescription drugs as it can interfere with their metabolism and make them even more toxic.

Your best bet is to stop being depressed by getting on a good diet, getting off of sugar, taking our Basic Wellness Kit, getting adequate sunlight, and exercising. This will take care of most depression. Be sure to read my article on depression at


Question: I have been experiencing a lot of anxiety attacks. Some of them are just overwhelming with heart palpitations and chest pain that can last for hours afterwards. My doctor’s answer is antidepressant drugs. I know that is not addressing the causes, only treating the symptoms. Do you have any suggestions? Anonymous – Hillsboro Beach, FL

Answer: You need to work with someone who can help you with this, as it can be quite complicated. I suggest a medical practitioner who specializes in alternative approaches to these problems. There are many safe approaches to reducing anxiety. There is no need to resort to prescription drugs, which are certain to cause you a host of new problems due to their toxicity. As with any health problem, you most likely would not be experiencing it if you were eating a healthy diet. Ninety cents of the American food dollar is spent on processed foods that are toxic garbage. If you eat garbage, your body won’t work right. Garbage is something that will not give your body what it needs to keep you healthy and is unfit for human consumption. Yet this is what most people eat every day – processed foods from the supermarket. Due to the low-quality food we eat, more than 90 percent of the U.S. population is deficient in omega-3 fatty acids. An omega-3 deficiency can cause anxiety. Most people don’t consume enough fresh vegetables, and vegetables contain flavonoids, such as hesperidin, quercetin, and curcumin, which have been shown to reduce anxiety. Most Americans are deficient in magnesium, and magnesium is a natural calmative agent, reducing the over reactivity seen with anxiety disorders. White tea can be helpful, and a high-quality white tea is now available from Beyond Health.
White tea is rich in a flavonoid called epigallocatechin gallate. This flavonoid has been shown to clam the brain and reduce anxiety. One thing that you should especially look out for is to not eat any excitotoxins. These are chemicals that can excite your brain and cause all kinds of problems. Aspartame, the artificial sweetener found in most diet sodas and many diet foods is especially neurotoxic and can cause anxiety attacks. Glutamates, a class of compounds added to processed foods to enhance flavor are another source of problems. Glutamates can excite nerve cells to death. The most well- known is monosodium glutamate (MSG). However, something can read MSG-free and still be loaded with glutamates. You have to read labels very carefully. Glutamates can be disguised as vegetable protein, hydrolyzed proteins, isolated protein, natural flavoring, spices and sodium or calcium caseinate.
Maintain a good diet, a good supplement program and avoid excitotoxins and you should do just fine without antidepressant drugs. And by the way, avoid caffeine which is a stimulant; the amount in white tea is usually not a problem, but coffee is.


Question: Two years ago we moved into a new apartment. Since then, I have been suffering from depression. I know from your articles that depression is caused by nutritional deficiencies, but I am doing everything you suggest in your articles and taking your supplements, and I am still sick. There is a lot of mold growing in our bathroom and kitchen, and I was wondering if this could be having an effect. A.J. – Houston, TX 

Answer: Your suspicions may be correct. In fact, there was a study published in the American Journal of Public Health finding that people who live in moldy environments are more likely to suffer from depression. You could have a cerebral allergy to molds or the toxins from the molds could be having an effect on your brain.
Whatever the reason for your depression, living in a moldy environment is not healthy. I would strongly advise you to move to another apartment. This will benefit your overall health and may well cure your depression. Always check for mold in damp areas, such as bathrooms, before moving into new living quarters.


Question: Whenever I am stressed, I crave sugar. I was wondering if this is normal, and if there is something I can do about it.
E. T. — Orlando, FL 
Answer: First about your cravings, there is plenty of science to explain what you experience, and it is common. Stress releases hormones called glucocorticoids. Glucocorticoids cause an increase in insulin, and insulin instructs cells to take up sugar. This causes blood sugar levels to drop, creating a need to rebalance blood sugar, hence your cravings. There is also another dimension to your sugar cravings. Eating sugar increases the neurochemicals serotonin and dopamine. Both of these create a sense of calm. They are feel-good chemicals. Dopamine has been associated with addiction because it taps into the body’s pleasure/reward system, and this helps to explain why people become addicted to sugar.
Finally, as to what you can do about it, learning to control stress is critical. Meditation, relaxation techniques and exercise are all helpful. Daily meditation can lower your overall stress levels. This helps to reduce the excess of stress hormones when you do become stressed. How you react to stressful events is under your control, so be mindful of what is happening in the moment and choose not to be stressed. In addition, if you crave sugar, but don’t have any around, you won’t be able to eat it. So don’t buy sugary foods. Reward yourself with something healthier like raw nuts.




Information contained in NewsClips articles should not be construed as personal medical advice or instruction. These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. Products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.